"EDGY, SYNCOPATED, ALIVE": FIRST EDITION OF KENNETH FEARING’S FIRST NOVEL, HOSPITAL, 1939, IN ORIGINAL DUST JACKET
FEARING, Kenneth. The Hospital. New York: Random House, 1939. Octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. $1200.
First edition, very scarce Advance Review copy, of Fearing's critically praised first novel, a collage of "brilliant vignettes" (New York Times) that set the stage for his classic noir novel, Big Clock, with laid-in ARC slip, in original dust jacket.
In his life and work, Fearing was "radically democratic… a despiser of bureaucracies." In early works such as Hospital, he compels "us to read the history of the 30s in a new way… as both 'hard times' and 'modern times' and as our own prehistory" (Barnard, Great Depression, 37-47). On publication, The New York Times singled out Hospital, his first novel, saying its collage of "brilliant vignettes," which evoke the "life stories of those who make up the network of hospital routines… calls for highest praise. He has the poet's gift of expression and condensation… Fearing is particularly concerned with those whose lives, metaphorically speaking, are spent in the world's basement. For them he has tenderness and for those who keep them there a stinging bitterness." In Hospital and his best known novel, Big Clock (1946), Fearing's skillfully "implied social commentary was painlessly integrated with whirling action" (Wald, American Night, 32). Critic David Rosenthal, pointedly writing of Hospital and Fearing's poetry, argues his work remains "edgy, syncopated, alive to the pathos of inarticulateness, the sound of American speech, and the media static that keeps us from knowing what we think or feel" (Village Voice). First edition, "first printing" stated on copyright page. Bruccoli & Clark I:129.
Book fine, lightest edge-wear to bold about-fine dust jacket.